To create a Multipurpose Digital Audiometric Workstation, able to: completely replace the existing clinical currently available heavy audiometers technology; provide an easy and reliable tool to perform periodical checks for workers involved in industrial activities with heavy acoustic pollution. The main achievements of the intended system will be:
a) performing the following tests and analysis
- 1) a large scale analysis, investigating the efficiency of a patient's hearing by means of the traditional subjective and objective audiometric techniques;
2) an impedance test of the external and middle ear cavity in order to identify their anotomic conditions, specific acoustic and mechanical properties;
3) a direct observation of the middle ear cavity by means of a micro camera in order to identify morphological anomalies, causes of hearing impairment,
b) supplying otorhinolarngologosts with suitable diagnostic tools.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The intended HEARING project will be developed on 5 main processing phases:
1) Requirement definitions. The analysis and the identification of user requirements will be performed in order to define the exact specifications and the architecture of the system.
2) System development.
This is the phase which requires the major effort from the consortium. The system will be implemented in every part, HW and SW components, with particular attention to the DSP card development, the impedance equipment and the micro camera. This first version of the system will then be tested in the laboratory.
3) Prototype construction. The system will be refined in all its aspects taking into account the results of the laboratory testing. Finally, the HEARING prototype will be realised with an appropriate user-friendly interface.
4) Validation. The prototype realised in the previous phase will be tested according to precise evaluation criteria that take into account the European standards for medical equipment.
5) Dissemination and Exploitation.
SMEs involved in the project have the potential to bring the HEARING system to the market, so that a wide action of dissemination of the achieved result will be performed in all European interested districts. The technical approach is based on an extensive use of digital technologies, both in terms of HW and SW solutions, which allow the system to guarantee more precision and effectiveness; in addition, a knowledge management system, based on data-mining technology, will be developed for early diagnosis of pathologies affecting the hearing apparatus.
A " Sound Synthesis Set " including:
A synthesis and digital acoustic signal generator (DSP), A/D and D/A converters.
A software system capable of analysing the data acquired by the test and elaborate the related reports.
A micro camera, for the investigation of the ear cavity, with the main characteristics: imaging area: 1/4": 3,61 mm x 2,72 mm; effective number of pixels: 512 (H) x 494 (V); imaging system: interline field accumulation; horizontal and vertical scanning: 15.734 KHz and 60 Hz.
Funding SchemeTHN - Thematic network contracts
CR4 3BA Mitcham, Surrey
L23 2UU Great Crosby, Liverpool
4470 Maia (Oporto)